Seeds of Hope: RCTHM is excited to support the “Seeds of Hope” programme based around the Corrymeela Reconciliation Centre in Northern Ireland.
A year-long pilot has selected a group of young leaders in their communities who have a wish to move beyond a violent past and renew civil society. Participants are supported in learning/reflection sessions and with mentoring to assist delivering their chosen projects in their communities. Longer term, the objective is to develop the programme in other parts of the world.
This programme fits well with RCTHM objectives to support a Peace Programme that will make a difference, starting on a small scale and developing as learning is adopted.
Seeds of Hope is a dynamic young adult initiative in Peace and Reconciliation, based around the Corrymeela Reconciliation Centre in Northern Ireland. It is a partnership between four long established reconciliation organisations, The Understanding Conflict Trust (1991), The Corrymeela Community (1965), Mediation NI (1991) and Tides (1995) with many people giving their time on a pro-bono basis.
It is currently funded through the energy of: many Rotary Clubs responding to the initial energy of the San Antonio and The Hague Rotary Clubs, with the Belfast, Derry, Clonmel and Dublin Clubs; Humanity United (USA); and The Understanding Conflict Trust.
In Northern Ireland, the partnership has convened a year-long pilot learning group drawing young adults from: the historically conflicted traditions; those who are not aligned and new citizens. All have a wish to move beyond our violent past and renew civil society.
This group will meet for six days and three residential weekends at Corrymeela between now and May 2024. This will finish with a week-long residential ‘Summer Learning Journey’ in July at The Corrymeela Centre with young adults from The Republic of Ireland, Great Britain, Colombia, Holland, Lithuania, Japan, South Korea, Middle East, South Africa (The Tutu Legacy Foundation), USA (Alamo Colleges), and Ukraine. Together they will explore how each, in their own settings, might grow peace, empowering the contributions that ordinary people in their families, groups, and civil society organisations can make.
Seeds of Hope will revive what the Corrymeela Community did in the late 1960s through to the 1990s: bringing cross community “Seed Groups” of young people together to work towards peace.
The initial year-long pilot programme provides young leaders with essential skills and concepts to spearhead community-based peace and social justice initiatives. The pilot group of 18 participants aged 18-27, has been selected mirroring the future diversity of Northern Ireland, with young adults from various social, economic, religious, and cultural backgrounds-established young citizens and new citizens who have come to live there.
The selection process sought out creative, promising young adults with the courage to improve their communities. A preference was given to young adults from marginalised communities. All participants are charged to return to their respective communities and civil society organisations to try to develop transformative and impactful peace and reconciliation programs, while continuing to receive guidance and mentorship.
It is hoped that the programme will aid the unfinished work of reconciliation in Northern Ireland, and that international students who attend will return to their own country as leaders in peace and reconciliation. After an initial pilot programme 2023-24, three further Annual Programmes (24-27) with groups of 24 young adults will be supported, forming a local and international practice network.